Meat prices at the grocery stores are skyrocketing, and many consumers are revisiting their local, small farms as an alternative.
Beef prices have jumped more than 12% over the last year, and pork is up nearly 10%. As those prices for meat continue to climb, more people are finding their way to local farms like Pilaroc Farm in southern Lincoln County, Tennessee, to fill their freezers.
The beef, pork and lamb operation is a family business, and it is growing.
“They are saying, 'If I’m gonna spend my dollar, maybe I should spend it locally,'" farm owner Jennie Schutte Patrick told WAAY 31 on Friday.
The farm sells directly to consumers and restaurants, cutting out the middle man. A lot more people are requesting meat, buying a half- or whole cow to fill their freezer as customers worry about possible shortages and rising prices, Patrick said.
“It is tough, because the prices in the stores are rising but we have yet to raise our prices, even though all of our inputs are up double, if not triple," she said.
Smaller operations typically can’t compete strictly on price with big box stores. Instead, their customers are seeking out high-quality and humanely raised proteins.
“Say we charge $7 a pound for a pack of ground beef," Patrick said.
"Walmart now is charging $6 a pound, and ours is a single-sourced animal, it’s dry-aged, which we think makes the quality more, but we’re only a dollar more.”
Work is underway to create a farmers market-style store on the property and open Pilaroc up for farm tours and events in the future.
“I think a lot of it is the story," Patrick said. Customers "are becoming more aware of where their products come from, and they’re more interested how food ends up on their plate. They want to know the family and the story behind a small producer versus a larger packinghouse."